Just days after season ticket holders coughed up thousands of dollars, a poorly timed announcement by the Buffalo Bills told fans that proof of COVID vaccination would be required to attend games at Highmark Stadium this season. According to ESPN, the Bills are the fourth team to urge fans to be fully vaccinated if they want to attend.
The timeline of the new vaccine policy is important. It appears gradual enforcement begins Sept. 23 and Oct. 3 games, where fans must show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. By Oct. 31, fans with two doses will only be permitted into the stadium.
"Guests will be permitted to enter with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination for the Sept. 26 and October 3rd games.
"Starting on the Oct. 31 game, guests must be fully vaccinated for entry. Guests are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's vaccine," a statement from the team read.
"If you do not want to get vaccinated ... that does not give you a right to go to a football game or a hockey game," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.
"If you want to go to the games, get vaccinated."
Season ticket holders who bought their tickets well in advance are now in a conundrum if they're not vaxxed. Some social media Bills fans said they would be reselling their tickets, while others said they would be more inclined to tailgate in the Bills Mafia parking lot, where no vaxx passes are needed.
Poloncarz said the county has been experiencing some of the highest infection rates of the virus since April. He said the team decided on the new policy after complying with Erie County Department of Health directives.
The Buffalo Bills join three other teams: New Orleans, Seattle, and Las Vegas, who request fans to be fully vaccinated if they want to attend. The Saints and Seahawks also recognize a negative test for entry, while the Raiders do not.
The Bills' move also comes one week after Dr. Anthony Fauci joined CNN's Jim Sciutto in a television interview. Fauci seemed disturbed about the kickoff of football season at crowded college and NFL stadiums around the country amid outbreaks of COVID. He told Sciutto that he doesn't think it's a brilliant idea for people to attend these sporting events.
"I don't think it's smart," Fauci said.
"Outdoors is always better than indoors, but even when you have such a congregate setting of people close together – first, you should be vaccinated. And when you do have congregate settings, particularly indoors, you should be wearing a mask."
"We could be stuck in outbreak mode, and that's why I think what you're going to be seeing is…a lot more local mandates," he warned.
What's surprising is that vaccine mandates, if it's at Highmark Stadium or other arenas or promoted by Fauci, have one similar thing: they discriminate against those with natural immunity. We've noted that Harvard Medical School professor Martin Kulldorff recently made the case that "natural immune protection that develops after a SARS-CoV-2 infection offers considerably more of a shield against the Delta variant of the pandemic coronavirus than two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine."
Here's more on how Bills fans are reacting to the new vaccine mandate:
Legit question - what about players who won't get vaxxed? They still allowed into the stadium?— Frank (@FrankLukacovic) September 14, 2021
This will NEVER stick. Good luck with all that.— Peter C. Montemurno (@fisher57) September 14, 2021